Dan Brown. Love him or hate him, you've got to admire the skill with which he's managed to write a clutch of successful novels which are practically bloody identical. Take some pathetically simple cryptography, one twist, a lemon - usually the lead character - and a bunch of two-page long chapters and voila, one Brown book. The best-seller of these templates, The Da Vinci Code, has spawned a film, a court case, and now the inevitable computer games, of which this isn't one. Well, it's obviously cashing in on the impending Hollywood blockbuster, but unlike Take-Two's official Da Vinci Code console license, this has absolutely nothing to do with murder in the Louvre.
The Secrets of Da Vinci is an adventure game set in 1522, shortly after the bearded Italian's death. The player is cast in the role of Valdo, the disgraced apprentice of Francesco Melzi, who in turn was a student of the great man. A mysterious benefactor (one day a straightforward benefactor will be born) has employed Valdo to snoop around Da Vinci's old gaff in France, where he hopes to find a secret codex document and get one up on his former master Melzi. The adventure is firmly rooted in history, with the setting, Leonardo's Clos Luce manor, modelled on its real-life counterpart. Actual Da Vinci paintings adorn the walls and the soft, diffused visuals evoke a suitably musty and medieval atmosphere.
Exploring the mansion is handled via a typical click to move system, with a full 360 degrees of mouse-look provided, although bizarrely there's no invert option. Okay, this isn't a first-person shooter and we don't expect the ghost of Leonardo to be turning up, requiring rocketing with a shoulder-mounted scroll launcher, but plenty of gamers are acclimatised to inverted mouse-look.